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Karl Jesper

How To Win Over Procrastination

procrastinating procrastinationDo you often postpone work? Making excuses to get out of the simplest duties?

We’re all guilty of it from time to time. But if you start doing it too often and never deal with the underlying issue you’re going to develop a bad habit.

The habit of procrastination.   

Here’s the interesting thing though, procrastination has nothing to do with work.

To some of the busiest people in the world like engineers, entrepreneurs, Ph.D. students. People who have a lot on their plate, are analytical and organized by nature, procrastination is a form of stress relief.

And this applies to you as well. So you gotta ask yourself:

“What am I stressed about?”

Not making enough money?

Not exercising enough?

In a tough relationship?

Take your time and figure out what’s stressing you out.

Let’s take money as an example and say you want to retire within 5 years but haven’t saved up enough money.

What’s really stressing you out is money and finances and the fear that comes with it.

This causes to you carry around a big weight on your shoulders as you’re stressed out about money all the time. Stressed out that you’re not going to make it and won’t be able to retire when you want to.

Or maybe someone in your family is very sick and that stresses you out…

Or you’re going through a divorce and that stresses you out…

You get my point.

So you’re constantly walking around with this weight on your shoulders. And when you come to work, knowing you have this one presentation to do. Or these five emails to write. Your prefrontal cortex looks at your todo list and yells:

“Nooo! You want me to write five emails!?! I’ve been worried about money all day and now you want me to work? I need a break.”

And you end up looking at videos of cute puppies and next thing you know, three hours is gone. You’ve been online on Facebook, shopping, browsing luxurious real estate etc.

Then you look at your list of five emails you were supposed to write and you’re thinking “OMG I didn’t write them. OMG, I didn’t write them. OMG, I didn’t write them”.

There’s a lot of research on the subject. So if you’re struggling (i’m guilty myself), know that procrastination itself is not the issue. It’s stress.

You’re doing it to give yourself a break. You’re exhausted after stressing out and carrying this huge weight on your shoulder all day.

And the number one thing you gotta do to deal with it is to accept it and forgive yourself.

Tell yourself that “hey, I screwed up. I know it. I know that I’m a mess financially, and I forgive myself. I’m gonna do the best that I can”. And then you have to address the underlying issue.

You’ll develop the self-awareness of knowing “oh boy, here’s that stress again about finances and it’s sabotaging my actions”.

The second thing you’re going to do is to understand that procrastination is a habit. And habits can be changed depending on the actions you decide to make.

You get triggered by stress, and procrastination is the habit.

So from now on, when your stress is triggered, you’re going to tell yourself “Oh so here’s that stress again. I’ve done the best I can and that’s ok. I’m gonna do a little bit today”. And then you’re just gonna start, and here’s the important part:

You’re just gonna work for five minutes!

So write emails for five minutes. Work on your presentation for five minutes. Make phone calls for five minutes. Whatever is on your todo list, you’re gonna work on it for five minutes only.

What this does is that once the stress kicks in, it gets you in the habit of starting, instead of procrastination. When you know you’re only going to work for five minutes you are much more likely to commit to starting.

Slowly you’ll start to replace the old habit with the new one. The new habit of taking action and getting stuff done, instead of procrastinating.

And eventually, you won’t stop working after five minutes but will keep going until the job is done.

Are you struggling with procrastination? How are you dealing with it? Leave a comment and let me know. If you enjoyed this story, please share to help others find it!


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